Date: 9th August 2011
Stadium: Portman Road
Location: Ipswich, Suffolk
My forty-sixth stadium of 2011 was on Tuesday 9th August 2011 at Portman Road in Ipswich, Suffolk. The match was Ipswich Town vs. Northampton Town in the Carling Cup 1st Round.
Portman Road is in the centre of the town around 500 yards from Ipswich railway station. It has been the home of Ipswich Town since 1884 and during this time has had extensive work to bring it up to modern standards.
This was my fourth visit to Portman Road but the first for some time. My first visit to the stadium was on 11th April 1995 to see Ipswich Town lose 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers in a Premier League match, my second time there was on 13th February 1996 to see Ipswich Town beat Walsall 1-0 in an F.A. Cup 4th Round match, and my third visit to the stadium was on 17th November 1998 to see the England Under 21s lose 1-0 to the Czech Republic Under 21s in a friendly match. Since then Ipswich Town have undertaken substantial redevelopments to the north and south ends of the ground to bring the overall capacity of the stadium past the 30,000 mark.
The Sir Bobby Robson Stand at the north end of the ground is the most recently developed part of the complex. It is a two-tiered stand which can seat around 7,500 fans. Behind the other goal is the South Stand which is similar in look and capacity to the north end. On the west side of the ground is the Britannia Stand which runs alongside the pitch. It is the only three-tiered stand in the venue but because the bottom two tiers are quite thin, its capacity of 7,500 is comparable to the other stands in the ground. On the east side of the ground is the two-tiered Cobbold Stand which houses away fans on the left-hand side of the structure with the rest of the stand taken up by home support. This is where I watched the game from.
The game was a League Cup 1st Round tie between Championship side Ipswich Town and League Two side Northampton Town. The hosts took an early lead on ten minutes when a shot from the edge of the box which may have been a misaimed cross looped over the Northampton goalkeeper and into the net. Ipswich were the stronger side for most of the half but the visitors grabbed a goal just before the break after sneaking past the static Ipswich defence and slotting home. Into the second half and a defensive mix-up inside the home penalty box presented Northampton with an open goal and the ball was duly dispatched in from a couple of yards out. The Championship side raised the pressure in the final minutes but were unable to score meaning Northampton ran out 2-1 winners.
Result: Ipswich Town 1-2 Northampton Town
Competition: League Cup